Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Beverly Swerling back to Between the Sheets for the release of MOLLIE PRIDE, an early 20th century historical thriller originally published under a pen name. Beverly is re-releasing this juicy, fast-paced tale. When it was first published in 1991, The Mail called it a “Pacy, racy, romantic thriller mightily deserving of success.” Also, Journal and Times calls it “A riveting story of the role that radio played in the great and terrible drama of WWII, and the individual bravery and devotion that in the end prevailed.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
The story opens at the height of the Roaring Twenties when Mollie is the youngest member of her family’s vaudeville act, and follows her into the burgeoning new world of entertainment that is commercial radio. Mollie will become first a child star, then a young woman whose vibrant voice is familiar across the nation.
When her heartbreaking marriage takes her to London at the onset of WWII, Mollie sends home descriptions of England enduring the blitz and fighting on alone that become the “must hear” broadcasts of their day. Meanwhile both sides use radio as a way to send clandestine messages to listening spymasters, and traitors broadcast seductive propaganda designed to undermine fighting men as well as the home front. When Mollie discovers how close to her that treachery truly is, terror and treason come to stalk her every word.
MOLLIE PRIDE is now available for the Kindle and Kindle apps in a $2.99 Encore Edition.
Most historical fiction is about European kings and queens, yours is not. Why is that?
Actually I have written one trilogy set in 17th century England, and another set in 18th century Spain. But I agree that much of my work is about American history. I can’t really say why. Except that stories begin for me with characters, and I have frequently seen those characters as living in—or at least as born in—the US. As a novelist I find rich material in the America of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. I love writing about that world and I hope my readers come to care about my characters, and thus care about the environment and the culture that made them who they are.
Women like Mollie Pride set in the 1930’s?
Exactly. Mollie’s story is set mostly in the 1930s and early 40’s, but that’s getting on for a hundred years ago! And it’s certainly a different world, a different America. As to whether her story is meaningful for today’s readers…just look at the success of Mad Men, or the renewed Gatsby craze. And in the end, like women of any age, Mollie is moved by love and honor and duty. She’s sometimes foolish and she makes mistakes, but don’t we all? I think it’s how characters overcome their bad angels and triumph that make their stories worth reading.
Incidentally, I wish Amazon would do the genre a favor and give us more sub-categories to choose from when we list our historical fiction books. A few thousand years shouldn’t all come under one or two headings.
Why were the books in this E-Pub Encore series originally published under your pen name?
Ah, you are asking me about one of the great mysteries of publishing. We tie ourselves in knots trying to guess why readers choose to read one book and not another. And we write complex contracts with highly technical non-competition clauses. The short answer is it all makes sense at the time. But in my case, my birth certificate says I’m Beverly Swerling and about fifteen years ago I dug in my heels and said that’s it. These are my stories and my work and that’s the name that’s going on the cover.
So what’s coming next in the Encore series?
Next is JUFFIE KANE, then WOMEN’S RITES and A MATTER OF TIME. Juffie is another early 20th century America book, but Juffie’s a Broadway star, not a radio personality. The other two are both back-and-forth-in-time books, like my current BRISTOL HOUSE. They’re set in the ancient world and in contemporary times.
You’ve also written a number of other books as Beverly Byrne, do you intend to bring them out as e-books as well? And are you writing something new?
As for e-publishing anything else from my backlist… the answer is maybe. It depends on what kind of reception the first four receive. Creating these second editions is a lot of work. I can’t afford to spend the time unless readers want to read them. As for something new, yes. I’m working on something called 37 Sin Eaters’ Street. It’s another back-and-forth-in-time book that takes place in Prague just before and during WWII, and New York City today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beverly is the acclaimed author of seven novels, nonfiction essays and many other works. You may find her at her website: www.BeverlySwerling.com or Twitter: @BeverlySwerling.